Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sticks and Stones

Today was truly craptastic. It was an everything-that-can-go-wrong-will-go-wrong kind of day. The dishwasher is out at the rental house. The preacher's wife who owns the rental house is acting all sorts of unholy with the leasing company. The shower is leaking into the garage. Blast!

But, Operation Tear-Out continues. As I write this post, I feel as if my soul has been laid bare, just like my home. I'm just tired and empty. Don't worry, friends. I won't stay this way. I just have my moments. And by golly, place I'm free to have a moment is on my own blog!

Anyhoo. The house is down to sticks and stones. Check out these stones:

Stone-look vinyl flooring under the red vinyl floor- who knew? Oh the secrets a house can reveal. And for the sticks:


There you go, folks. Family room, living room, dining room, and kitchen. Sticks and stones, laid bare. What a mess. When I saw this pic, it took me several seconds to even figure out which rooms I was looking at. I didn't recognize my own home. Ouch. 

My first steps back into my home following the fire were completely surreal. Nothing can prepare you for that moment. I followed a firefighter with a flashlight and a special cousin close on my heels. She is special because just a few months before, she had taken those same disorienting steps into her own fire-ravaged home- and there she was to take the walk with me. 

As I stepped into the doorway, my feet seemed to slide in opposite directions throwing me off balance. The reality slapped me hard- I was walking in water. My house was full of water. Of course- a whole pumper truck of water, plus one garden hose sprayed with serious desperation. I grabbed at the walls to steady myself, but my hands landed in slick, greasy soot. There was no electricity and as I followed the dim glow of the flashlight the fireman carried ahead of me I struggled to make sense of what I was seeing. Something was hanging from the ceiling. It was...the ceiling fan. The fan blades had melted into contorted drooping shapes. And as I swallowed down the lump in my throat and choked back sobs, my eyes fell on this:

Be still and know that I am God. Soot covered the wall and ceiling near the sign, but the sign itself seemed to almost glow. Today, when the walls came down, the hubby discovered this:

This one particular stud was charred. The studs on either side were not. This stud was directly behind that sign. The sheetrock you see behind those studs is black from smoke. Yet somehow, that sign escaped the heat and the smoke. 

The only thing that stopped the flames from going through our roof was two sheets of plywood we had thrown down in the attic so we could store the Christmas tree without falling through the kitchen ceiling.

That's all I've got tonight. Nothing funny. Nothing cute. Just deep, soul-baring reflection. A great big heaping dose of real. Momma said there'd be days like this. And they suck.  

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